Gisborne crash victim farewelled by family
Mon, 22 Oct 2012 6:21p.m.
By Karen Rutherford
The family of one of the weekend's road victims, 33-year-old Gisborne mother Serena Smith, says they sympathise with the man who crashed into her.
Ms Smith was the sober driver for a friend on Saturday night when she and three passengers in the other driver's vehicle died in the crash near Te Karaka.
Preparing to bring home Ms Smith's body is a family affair. All 300 Whatatutu locals, uncles, aunties and cousins pitch in. Even the mother-of-four's two-year-old helps out.
“There is going to be a time when she is physically on the marae, when they see her and touch her, and that's when it will hit hard,” says grandfather Eru Smith. “That's when they will need us most.”
Ms Smith's senseless death in a fiery two-car collision on a sweeping bend north of Gisborne is a cruel twist of fate.
She was a sober driver that night for a friend, and as a trainee school teacher she was big on road safety, helping with an anti-drink drive campaign on the marae.
“For all of us she was an angel and now she is an angel,” says her aunty.
Police are yet to interview the 58-year-old driving the Ford Explorer that collided with Ms Smith's car. He's in a stable condition at Gisborne Hospital. His family has been arriving all day. They too are grieving at losing three of their own in the fireball.
Police still won't say if alcohol played a part in the accident, but nonetheless Ms Smith's family feels no anger towards the other driver. They say the are sorry for the trauma he has been put through, but must let it be.
For the rest of their lives, Ms Smith's partner Trevor and their children will also feel the hurt. But they will be comforted by up to 1000 family members on the marae over the coming days.
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